On this offseason roadshow with the Tennessee Titans, we’ve discussed the draft, and most recently free agency. With those avenues covered, there’s only one method of player acquisition left; trades. New general manager Ran Carthon has the task of re-working an entire roster that saw its window of contending slam shut in 2022. At least in its current form, the Titans are as far from a championship as they’ve been since hiring Mike Vrabel in 2018.
That’s a task that’s going to take some maneuvering to accomplish, but Carthon appears to be up to the task. He doesn’t have a whole lot of cap space to work with at the moment, but he does have something more valuable, draft capital! Let’s dive into two potential Titans trade options for Carthon this offseason.
2. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Rumors have swirled all offseason that the Cardinals are listening to offers for the soon to be 31-year-old Hopkins. He’s got quite the cap hit of $20 million in 2023, so this would be a move that would need to be made in tandem with others. However, if it can be worked out, Hopkins becomes a prime target for whoever the quarterback is. The Titans didn’t have that kind of player at all in 2022, finishing with the worst expected points added in the league when targeting wide receivers, per Sharp Football Analysis.
I think we’re all in agreement the AJ Brown trade last year is quickly becoming an all-time blunder in franchise history, but the past is the past. He’s gone, so you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got. Hopkins is on the tail end of his prime, sure, but it’s still part of his prime. You’re looking at an elite receiver available for comparatively cheap, since you’re taking on a big cap hit. Pair him with Treylon Burks and you’re looking a whole lot better when you drop back to pass.
1. First Overall Pick
Speaking of draft capital, is this cheating? Is trading up for a player who is yet to be named a bit unfair? Humor me for a minute, this makes at least a shred of sense. As things currently stand, the Titans are projected to have upwards of $150 million in cap space in 2024. Go ahead, read that again, pinch yourself, whatever you need to do. That is a mammoth amount. You could sign basically an entire side of the ball if you needed to.
So here’s the pipe dream plan. You trade your first rounders in the next three seasons to the Bears, and take your quarterback first overall. You’ve got him cheap for the next five years. Go absolutely all out on the trade market and free agency in 2024. You’ve got silly money. Act like you’ve got it. We’ve seen loads of teams do this to great effect. An elite quarterback on a rookie contract is the greatest get-out-of-jail-free card a team can possibly have. It allows roster maneuvering that otherwise is just totally impossible in pursuit of the Lombardi Trophy.
That would accelerate the rebuild, retool, rework, whatever you want to call it, by several years. You could realistically find yourself right back contending for a championship in 2025, with the right selection at first overall. I’m not sure it’s possible for Carthon to make a bigger splash than trading for the first overall pick in his first offseason in Nashville. I’m also not sure he’d be willing to make that big a splash this early on, but it’s worth discussing.